24-month ‘probie’ status before employment restructured by workers

MANILA, Philippines – There are signs of anger in some sectors of the industry after news broke that the probationary status of employees and employees could be extended for two years before employment could be finalized.

It was September 24 when Rep. Jose Singson Jr. House Bill 4802 aimed to get the employee signed before the two-year term is permanent.

In a PSN interview, Kilusang Mayo Uno said that the “endo” (end of contract) was now only six months before the probationary period could be completed.

“It makes the workers temporary rather than regular,” said Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog, KMU chairman.

“Endo” refers to the termination of an employee or worker before six months – the length of time required by the Labor Code before making the worker permanent.

Unlike probationary employees, regular security under tenure under Article 279 of the Labor Code is protected by “security of tenure”:

“In cases of regular employment, the employer shall not terminate the services of an employee except for a just cause or when authorized by this Title. An employee who is unjustly dismissed from work shall be entitled to reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and other privileges and to his full backwages, inclusive of allowances, and to his other benefits or their monetary equivalent computed from the time his compensation was withheld from him up to the time of his actual reinstatement.”

“The proposal to extend the probationary period of a new employee to 24 months is another blow to the workers,” Labog added.

Singson’s defense, however, said it would be easier for people who go through 24-month probation status to be regular full-time employees.

“Lengthening the employer’s probationary stage will give employees more opportunities to prove their worth to the employer, that they have the necessary skills, talents and other qualifications that will drive their regularization along with mandatory benefits,” Singson said.

He had earlier said that six months was not enough to go through the necessary “developmental training” and job search criteria to ensure that they could meet the demands of the employer.

An additional probationary period would also prevent the “automatic regularization of unqualified employees.”

Luke Roh, the national chairman of the Filipino Workers’ Union, replied that Singson wanted to destroy the dignity of the Filipino worker.

“Why does it take two years for the worker to prove his worth in the capitalist business?” said the Spirit.

“Would it not have been for the labor force, paid only by a modest wage, that the capitalist would not have been making a decent profit?”

‘6 months enough’

That is according to Rep. Ferdinand Gaite (Bayan Muna party-list). “That’s too long. The current six months are enough to determine if an employee deserves a job,” Gaite said.

Gaite is one of those who filed House Bill 3381, which aims to ban all forms of contractualization, endo and labor-only contracting.

The militant lawmaker added that Singson’s proposal would only deny the workforce their right to security of tenure and benefits.

“Extending the probationary period is just extending their time to the ’employment limo,'” Gaite said.

Rather than enforcing it, it would be best to just pass the real Security of Tenure Law worker.

The BMP, formerly known rival of the national democratic Left, has also expressed their support for HB 3381 of the Makabayan bloc.

Meanwhile, Bayan Muna is concerned that the Department of Labor and Employment is proposing a version of the SOT bill, something that has already been presented to the House Committee on Labor, due to provisions on fixed-term employment and intensification of contractualization.

“We will not allow it, we will contract it,” Gaite added.